Amends Gone Awry


Blink, blink. You're not gonna believe this one. Well, maybe you are, but I'm still shaking my head in a confusing way.

Having now been involved in meetings for over one year (woo hoo) and also in some personal studies of faith, I felt God was urging me to make an amends to my ex-husband, Cliff's dad. We had a volatile, unhealthy marriage through and through. I was a very young, very unworldly girl; he was equally as young but came from a very different home than I. Being the son of dual alcoholics, Daddio was totally inept in the matters of healthy relationships. I, Miss Pollyanna, was a total enabler and co-dependent in training. I clearly remember the thought that all Daddio needed was someone to love him and treat him with kindness. Surely, he'd turn around and be a better man. Smile.

Thirty-five years later, I know I've changed and I hoped in his life he had grown too. We've been mostly cordial to each other since our divorce and I will always care. Afterall, we have two grown sons and now grands in our life. We will always have to interact and God says, be at peace with ALL men, when possible. So, this is possible. Anyway, having had some spiritual growth this past year, I felt that I needed to make amends with Daddio for some things in our marriage that were on my plate. I thought about it for weeks and bounced it off my mentor and she agreed.

Early one day this week, I wrote an email to Daddio. Here's an excerpt from my note to him:

"Last year, when Cliff was hitting the skids, I began going to some 12 step meetings and also doing a personal study with my mentor...All this to say that sometimes I still get a wave of grief over me for the hurts I caused you and the break in our marriage when ____________. I can't take it back or change anything and I know we probably briefly talked before but now I am asking you for your forgiveness. I'm not sure I ever asked for that before but God's been pressing it on me to get this thing cleared up once and for all. I hope you can find it in your heart to do that. I'd really rather have had this conversation in person but I don't have your number any longer........."

And here is Daddio's note back to me, condensed of course:

"Not sure where to begin. The baggage at times is quite large when it comes to Cliff. Forgiveness is not so much the issue but Cliff's lack of response in his letters to me concerning his attempts to improve his situation while in jail. Several times I asked him if he is........."

What in the world?!?

The remainder of his note was about Cliff and what Daddio thinks Cliff's failing to do along with a reference to the fact that the fall is here and this always seemed to be Cliff's time of year that he begins his slide. I was stunned as I re-read his reply. It was all about Cliff! I burned for a few minutes and thought about how to reply. I hastily dashed a note back asking if he even read my email. I said "this wasn't about Cliff. I'm asking for it...for me...about our marriage." Then of course, I added an addendum. "By the way"..... And mentioned a bit of Cliff's progress and that if he wanted to know things instead of assuming things, he should write Cliff directly and ask him questions.

Daddio replies "Each correspondence from you in the past has been about Cliff, Sorry. As far as Cliff goes.......

Noooooooo! Here we go again! I wanted to scream to someone to let me off this ride!! Daddio also said "If he needs to write to me let him write (like I have anything to do with that). I may not reply one for one but I'll write back."

My wings were flapping like mad! Finally I flung a retort his way again saying that he doesn't NEED to write. He would like to correspond with you, Daddio, I wrote. But if you are going to only lecture or chew him out, don't bother. Talk about life....not focusing only on what he is or isn't doing. He already spends enough time going through that over and over again.

Okay, so my amends didn't go as planned. I let myself be pulled back into a challenge, or did I? I have sort of been shrugging it off since then. Evidently the amends aren't as important to Daddio as they are to me. Or he chooses not to forgive me and that's his choice. But to not even read my email??

Ahh...I love when things remain the same.

11 comments:

Lou said...

How timely. I was starting to think of my amends, and wondering how they will be received.

Laura, you have enough on your plate. You tried, and I think you should forget about it. Some people are never going to get it.

Pam said...

This was a serious post but I'm sorry I had to laugh...just the irony of it and the fact that the same thing happened to me! It's kind of like the Twilight Zone isn't it?
And I came to the exact same conclusion--"pam, why in the world did you think it would be different?"

AlkySeltzer said...

Yeah but, yeah but, yeah but, things do NOT always remain the same in my life. Constant change, for good or not.

Hey girl, you did your part (and then some, I might add -grin-). Ya know, we live and learn--and what we learn we can pass on to others in an appropriate way, on an appropriate day.

Have a GREAT day today!

indistinct said...

Your ex reminds me of me, at least the old me. I can relate to being so obsessively focused on my addicted child, that nothing else counted or mattered. All other matters were trivial. I was a sick puppy.

Eventually, when the pain got bad enough, I found alanon, and then AA.

My higher power showed me a pathway that led to a return of at least partial sanity. It was Gods way in God's time.

You did your part in making the amends. You can't make your ex accept it. We never know how an amend is going to turn out. I had one person, very close to me, just shrug their shoulders, after my amend. Not what I expected.

I love that I can only work on changing myself. I remind myself of that each day, keeps me right sized.

Great sharing. Thanks for being part of my journey.

kristi said...

Oh my good lord. He sounds like some of my family members. CRAZY.

J-Online said...

I've found that people that aren't in the program don't always understand me and what I'm trying to do/say. You did your part sweetie.

Syd said...

Amends sometimes aren't accepted. Or as planned. And you're so right that the amends are for you.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Your letter sounded lovely. Sorry it met with a crazy response, but all we can do is put it out there, right?

Laura said...

Yes, exactly!

Cat said...

Writing that letter had to take a good amount of courage and self reflection - you did what was right for you - even if he ignored the attempt - good for you! Cat

TraceyBaby said...

This makes me uptight. I can see this happening to me with my ex or someone else. Hmmmm

I'm glad you wrote about it.....a learning experience for all of us maybe? Or a good warning anyway.

"This could happen to you"